A Variant of Church’s Set Theory with a Universal Set in which the Singleton Function is a Set

Flash Sheridan


A Platonistic set theory with a universal set, CUSι, in the spirit of Alonzo Church’s “Set Theory with a Universal Set,” is presented; this theory uses a different sequence of restricted equivalence relations from Church’s, such that the singleton function is a 2-equivalence class and hence a set, but (like Emerson Mitchell’s set theory, and unlike Church’s), it lacks unrestricted axioms of sum and product set. The theory has an axiom of unrestricted pairwise union, however, and unrestricted complements. An interpretation of the axioms in a set theory similar to Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with global choice and urelements (which play the rôle of new sets) is presented, and the interpretations of the axioms proved, which proves their relative consistency.

The verifications of the basic axioms are presented in considerably greater generality than necessary for the main result, to answer a query of Thomas Forster and Richard Kaye. The existence of the singleton function partially rebuts a conjecture of Church about the unification of his set theory with Quine’s New Foundations, but the natural extension of the theory leads to a variant of the Russell paradox.


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